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ACJ's history

The first international jewellery conference held in the UK, the 1996 Jewellers' Exchange, was the catalyst for a UK association, and ACJ was formalised in May 1997
to promote the artform
to support the makers
to delight and inform the collectors, curators, gallerists, educators and all those interested in contemporary jewellery
hence the name the Association for Contemporary Jewellery.

“We had a clear remit from the start of providing a forum where we could all come together to exchange news and views. However, ACJ also quickly became a vital advocate for contemporary jewellery at a time of change in the jewellery sector as a whole” wrote Jane Adam, our second Chair.

Our key objectives are :

  • to promote awareness and understanding and provide educational opportunities and activities in the field of contemporary jewellery
  • to be inclusive and open to those associated with, or interested in, contemporary jewellery
  • to provide a means of bringing members into contact with each other, fostering discussion and interaction.

ACJ has held 5 international conferences:

1998 Feel it! Wear it! (Edinburgh)
2000 A Sense of Wonder (Birmingham)
2006 Carry the Can (London)
2010 Crossings (West Dean College, West Sussex)
2017 20:20 Visions (Sheffield)
2022 Beyond Silver

Our exhibitions

2004 Jewellery-Unlimited, Bristol
2006 Heirlooms, London and Re-Group, London, Antwerp
2012 Diamond Jubilee, Birmingham, London, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Llantrisant in Wales
2013 Stain-LESS, main exhibition in Sheffield’ Galvanize Festival
2014 ICONS, National Centre for Craft & Design, Sleaford
2015 Sleight of Hand, Burton on Trent, The Scottish Gallery Edinburgh, Plymouth College of Art
2017 20:20 Visions, touring to 7 venues in the UK to celebrate our 20th anniversary.
2018 Adorned Spaces at the SNAG conference in Portland, Oregon, USA.
2019 Tales of the Subconscious, Gill Wing Jewellery London
2019-20 Connections | Connessioni, the Goldsmiths' Centre London, the Lighthouse Glasgow, Museo di Storia Naturale del Mediterraneo Livorno, l'Oratoria San Rocco Padua
2020 glasshouses, online exhibition
2022-2023 Meanings and Messages, St George’s Arts Centre Kent in partnership with LV21, Exeter University, Vittoria Street Gallery Birmingham, Mission Gallery in partnership with Swansea College of Art UWTSD, Goldsmiths’ Centre London, New Brewery Arts, Cirencester, Milano Jewellery Week

We have organised numerous selling shows for our members’ work, working with London Jewellery Week, the Scottish Gallery, New Ashgate Gallery and Gill Wing Jewellery in London.

We have a strong network of regional groups across the UK; in 22 years these have grown, changed and sometimes closed, but the local networks prove very valuable to members. The autonomous but linked groups organise their own events: selling shows, workshops, meetings, courses in particular techniques such as enamelling, gem cutting, wax carving and many more. ACJ London is very active, visiting many jewellery events, Museum collections and drinking lots of coffee. ACJ Wessex is our oldest group, they organise very successful selling shows once or twice a year and have an excellent programme of workshops and meetings.

ACJ produces the print magazine Findings which is published twice a year, distributed to members and non-members; all the previous issues may be seen on our website. This carries articles on all aspects of contemporary jewellery, book & exhibition reviews, discussion topics and more. You can read all the back issues here

Since 2009 we have published a monthly e-bulletin for members, to supplement Findings with news, opportunities, events and information. Logged-in members can read the e-bulletins here.